Department of Chemistry
A headshot

James Sacchettini

Primary Appointment
Biochemistry and Biophysics

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
300 Olsen Boulevard
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-2128

P: 979-862-7637
Web Sites Areas & Divisions

Current Activities

My laboratory primarily studies the interactions between proteins and their ligands, substrates or inhibitors. We use several techniques in the examination of the molecular details of these types of interactions including x-ray crystallography, microcalorimetry, and molecular biology. An area of research for several years has been proteins and enzymes involved in lipid biosynthesis. We are also applying protein crystallography to define aspects of the structural basis of the cellular immune response. This is being done through a concerted effort to determine the 3-D structures of several major histocompatibility complexes (MHCs) with specific antigenic peptides bound, as well as proteins from the T-cell. These studies have permitted many insights into how cells notify the immune system of their infection. A third major focus in the laboratory is in the field of rational drug design. Our approach to designing drugs is to first determine the 3-D structure of a target enzyme and then use these data to computer design inhibitors that will bind to the enzyme's active site. These structural studies are combined with high throughput and combinatorial screens. We have now designed and synthesized several compounds which are drug candidates against tuberculosis.

Educational Background

Ph. D., 1987, Washington University, St. Louis

Awards & Recognition

  • Wolfe-Welch Chair in Science
  • Director, Center for Structural Biology
  • Chemistry/Biology Interface Training Program
  • Molecular Biophysics Training Program
  • Program in Microbial Genetics and Genomics

Selected Publications

  • Eicken, C., Sharma, V., Klabunde, T., Lawrenz, M. B., Hardham, J.M., Norris, S.J., and Sacchettini, J.C. (2002) Crystal structure of the variable surface antigen VlsE of Borrelia burgdorferi. J. Biol. Chem. 277:21691-21696.
  • Yang, D., Shipman, L.W., Roessner, C.A., Scott, A.I., and Sacchettini, J.C. (2002) Structure of the Methanococcus jannaschii mevalonate kinase - a member of the GHMP kinase superfamily. J. Biol. Chem. 277:9462-9467.
  • Huang, C.-C., Smith, C.V., Glickman, M., Jacobs, Jr., W.R., and Sacchettini, J.C. (2002) Crystal structures of mycolic acid cyclopropane synthases from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J. Biol. Chem. 277:11559-11569.
  • Sacchettini, J.C. and Kelly, J.W. (2002) Therapeutic strategies for human amyloid disease. Nat. Rev. Drug Discov. 1:267-275.
  • Perozzo, R., Kuo, M., bir Singh Sidhu, A., Valiyaveettil, J.T., Bittman, R., Jacobs, Jr., W. R., Fidock, D.A., and Sacchettini, J.C. (2002) Structural elucidation of the specificity of the antibacterial agent triclosan for malarial enoyl ACP reductase. J. Biol. Chem. 277:13106-13114.